You take Das Racist, a ridiculous alternative hip-hop group whose humour, all-over-the-place allusions and stream-of-consciousness style of rap would never fly were they not so good at it and put them on a stage with Le1f, Lakutis and unheard-of Oakland artist Safe and you might expect something special. I certainly hope not though, because they gave me what was by far the worst concert I’ve attended this side of Euphoria.
It is possible that you, the reader, may not really know of Das Racist. Despite flirting with breaking through many times, they never really managed that final step that puts a band on everybody’s lips.
These are really smart guys. Their lyricism is undeniable, and their subject matter is unique. Intelligence though is worthless unless paired with some skill and not only do these guys have flow on the level of half of the rappers you see owning the charts, but they pair it with consistently sick beats. Put everything together and you get the freshest feel in rap since Eminem first started dropping records. They might not be big, but they certainly deserve to be. With concerts like this though, you can understand why the reality is rather different.
The club is probably the best place to start. I don’t need to ask, I know they got it from the hellhole store. The concert was slated to start at 10PM and yet until midnight the club was owned by Crap DJ + Friends. I wish that I could call those Friends amateur rappers. Amateur implies some desire to become skilled, some promise of quality. The only thing I could hope for from these people was that they would stop. On the plus side, they gave me time to catch up on work and meet some nice, new people. Meeting people at concerts can be hard, but when you have as good an opening topic as how terrible that DJ was, things become easy.
To add to the pain, the place was a true hipster dive. Hipsters are like hippos, you see them on television and every now and again you will see one in captivity, but until you meet a whole herd of them in their natural habitat, you can never realise how truly irritating they are. I don’t even want to make the standard jokes as that would only trivialize the incredible hate I now feel for them. I am never going down that area of San Francisco again.
We gained a bit of a respite from the sonic sludge of that DJ with Safe, an Oakland R&B artist. He was okay and anything was better than what was playing before, but I would not track him down. I honestly wouldn’t even listen to him again. I might even change the channel if he was playing on the radio. However, he was as the music of the spheres compared to what came before, and sadly what came right after.
After a little more quality time with DJ I-don’t-need-to-be-good-if-I-look-hipster-enough, we finally got to see someone known. Admittedly it was Lakutis, the Cappadonna to DR’s Wu-Tang Clan, but he’s something, isn’t he? If stoned out of his mind counts as something, then he most certainly was something. He just wasn’t very good. At one point, he jumped into the crowd and refused to return, leaving his poor friend on the beats stranded. That was probably the only memorable part of his thankfully brief time alone on stage. His friend did manage some decent jokes though. All told though, not really best of the best of the best of the best ahh.
Le1f is a full-on internet celebrity. Not content with merely producing such things as Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, he plunged into the public eye with Wut. He also makes for a pretty impressive stage presence.
He ended with Wut and while the rest of his set is nowhere near that level, it still made for quite an enjoyable piece. He may not have the portfolio to follow Kanye and Drake from behind the beats to in front of the mic, but he was there and he was good. Also, whatever else one says about him, his performance certainly gets interesting.
Finally, we had DR themselves take the stage. They threw down a pretty strong set list. Starting with Who’s That? Brooown! they also went through some of their strongest stuff, like Rainbow in the Dark, Rapping 2 U, Amazing, Brand New Dance and Michael Jackson. These are all great stuff for a club and great songs to sing along with. Singing along though requires the rappers to actually be singing though.
To be fair, Dap did an incredible amount and sang pretty much every word of every song into his distorter. Heems and Kool A.D. though seemed happy to let the crowd do all the work though. In hindsight, Das Racist is not really a band that is at its best live. They need the beats to balance with the vocals and they need you to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate their lyrical wit. However, they could have tried. They were clearly stoned, but they seemed far from incapacitated. They just came off as callous.
There’s not really much more to say. They would have been disappointing all by themselves. They certainly weren’t worth all the wasted time waiting for them. When the crowd knew every lyric and DR let us sing the whole thing, it felt in parts like a celebration of what they have become. It felt more like a statement of why they will never be anything more.